The government is considering revamping the Skill India Mission, which has not achieved the desired results despite a series of initiatives.
Officials said the mission in its new avatar will be based on incentives rather than subsidies and it will focus largely on fiscal sops for attracting private players.
A senior government official told ET that there have been internal deliberations on how to make skilling more effective so that the quality of skill training matches international standards and the outreach of skilling is massively scaled up to cover millions of youths that enter the workforce every year.
“One of the options being considered includes giving fiscal incentives to private players whose skilling targets could be linked to their annual turnover,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The plan also envisages incentivising the youth through stipends at the school level to join vocational courses once the skilling ecosystem is integrated with the secondary school curriculum.
NITI Aayog has also suggested that the government give incentives to private schools and lower interest rates on loans to create and expand skills-related training infrastructure at the secondary school level.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the Skill India Mission in 2015 with a vision to make India the “skill capital” of the world.
The government’s stated aim was to impart skills training to 400 million people by 2022 through schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Protsahan Yojana, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana and National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme.
However, just 25 million youths have been imparted skill training so far under various government schemes. Union Budget 2018-19 allocated Rs 3,400 crore for Skilling India, up from Rs 2,356 crore in the previous fiscal.
“Lateral entry/exit, upward mobility and multiple classroom learning are the need of the hour,” said Neeti Sharma, senior vice president, Teamlease Services India. “If students wish to continue with education, they should be allowed to continue in college and earn relevant credits. Then, if needed, let them work for a few months or quarters and come back to continue studies.”
The demand for skilled labour is estimated to be over 128 million between 2017 and 2022 in 34 sectors across industries, according to the skill development and entrepreneurship ministry’s annual report for 2017-18. But less than 5% of India’s workforce is formally skilled, much less than that in South Korea (96%), Japan (80%), Germany (75%), United Kingdom (68%) and the United States (52%), according to the ministry’s report for 2015 .